‘Outlast’ Review: Are You Insane?!

With a new generation of consoles available to the public, I’m sure that some of us have been waiting for the horror genre to jump back on its feet and do what it does best, scare the living heck out of us. Thanks to the people at Red Barrel Games, PlayStation 4 owners alongside PC gamers can now play their latest horror title Outlast. Putting together all of the survival aspects we have come to know and love and all of the gruesome scenes we have come to hate into one game, Outlast does a fantastic job of frightening the pants off most who dare play within the first few minutes of gameplay.

Outlast puts you in the hands of an investigative journalist who doesn’t let the impossible story run from his grasp. After receiving a major tip from an insider at asylum Mount Massive, you find yourself trying to break into the building in order to find out what’s really going on behind those closed doors, though you might want to cleanse your memory sooner rather than later. Throughout the game’s entirety,  you will travel around the corridors and rooms in first-person, wielding no weapons except a camcorder from which you can film the night’s events and also use the night vision to see in the dark. You either run, hide or die. The stench of death inside Mount Massive is everywhere, so you won’t feel out of place. The only downside to carrying a camcorder is the battery life – you’re going to need to stock up on those as you play.

The story isn’t too long and to some, it may seem on the short side, which can be rather disappointing. Whilst the information provided throughout the campaign is in depth and gives you snippets of a back story, I felt that it all came to an abrupt and rather painful ending, make of that as you wish. Could they have extended the game? Possibly. Could they have conjured up a better ending? Probably. But don’t let that stop you from playing one heck of a horror title.

Outlast has been so cleverly crafted that you often find yourself thinking that you’re in the game yourself. From holding onto door frames and peeking around corners to breathing heavily when in a state of distress, your character feels, moves and acts like a true human being which makes it all the more horrifying.

Run, hide or die. You are not able to fight with any of the asylum’s inhabitants instead, you must sneak around and try your best to avoid any contact. Running away from enemies is your only weapon here, so keeping an eye out for back rooms with beds to hide beneath, rooms with dark fireplaces to hide inside and lockers to conceal yourself within are your key to survival. Whilst this element of the game is sometimes a let down, especially when you find yourself playing tag with one of the local crazies or a hiding technique you’ve found doesn’t quite work to your advantage, you can certainly see why the developers have made it so. It gets the blood pumping and forces you to keep on trucking rather than laying back.

Being forced to use the camcorders night vision function is also something that frightens me to my core, especially when facing a dank and dark corridor with something or someone lurking in the darkness. There really isn’t much use in the camcorder other than for the night vision, though recording at particular times will grant you with an update in your notes section and additional back story information. You could combat the darkness by increasing the brightness on your TV, but heck, what’s the fun in that?

Visually the game is decent and no detail has been left out, including that of dead and decomposing bodies. Looking outside of windows you are able to see the world you wish you were currently frolicking in and walking through pools of blood will leave you creating your own trail of footsteps, leaving you sometimes mistaking them for another persons. “Did I just leave that? Is there somebody lurking near me? Those weren’t there a minute ago!” Compared with the original found on the PC, not much has been changed, in fact you wouldn’t even consider this particular title had been ported over. Apart from a couple of loading times being a little on the long side and some elements of the environment looking wooden, everything runs as smooth as the backside of a baby for the most part.

Outlast

Outlast
71.666666666667

Gameplay

8/10

    Story

    7/10

      Visuals

      7/10

        Pros

        • Incredibly tense atmosphere
        • Variety of environments to keep gameplay fresh
        • Increased difficulties puts forward a challenge

        Cons

        • Yet another horrific asylum setting
        • Final section is repetitive and bland

        Amber

        I play games. A lot of them. You can catch me streaming my favourite games on Twitch: twitch.tv/amberplaygames. Can't wait to meet you!